Archive for April 21st, 2008

New Celebrity endorsement for antioxidants

April 21, 2008


The anti-ageing effects of antioxidant vitamin supplements were yesterday extolled by legendary film star and bon viveur, Count Dracula.

The Romanian aristocrat turned actor and personality explained that without his tailored regime of antioxidants he would never be able to sustain his punishing round-the-clock lifestyle. Count Dracula joins other celebrities, like Sir Cliff Richard, Gloria Hunniford, actress Jenny Seagrove and Carole Caplin, who have spoken out to defend supplements after recent medical studies suggested that antioxidant supplements did not benefit those taking them, and might even be harmful.

“Of course that’s complete rubbish”, says the astoundingly youthful-looking Count emphatically. “I take vitamins A, B, C D, and E every day, as well as Beta-Carotene and N-acetylcysteine by the bottle-load, and I absolutely swear by them all”.

The one antioxidant Dracula doesn’t take is Selenium. “It makes your breath smell of garlic he says. “I’ve simply never been able to abide garlic – dreadful stuff.”

Dracula’s supplement regime certainly seems to be working – he hardly looks a day over forty, though persistent rumours place his birthday somewhere in the 15th century. The star is understandably coy about his exact age, admitting only that he has “seen a few centuries come and go”.

Dracula looks especially well for a man who admits that he had been laid up only a couple of days before with a bad stomach. “I must have eaten someone that disagreed with me” he quips. He thinks perhaps the meal that laid him low probably contained too many chemical food additives.

“I do try to stay strictly organic”, he says ”but when you’re on the move so much it’s hard to find really good food, and you never really know where it’s come from. Often it says it’s organic, or vegetarian, but how can you be sure?”

Dracula also has a special dietary problem – his unusual diet is rich in iron and protein, but missing the fruit and vegetables that normally supply phytochemical (plant-derived) antioxidants.

That, he says, is where the antioxidant supplements help.

“Yes, it’s partly a detox thing” he says. “As a Haemo-tarian, I take in really incredible amounts of iron. It gives me bags of energy, of course, but I do worry about getting iron_overload. Of course, all that iron means my system is under a really tremendous amount of oxidative stress, and that’s where the antioxidants come in. Without the vitamin C and vitamin E, and the N-acetyl-cysteine, I think I would be in real trouble”

He is scornful of the recent science suggesting antioxidants don’t help people stay healthy.

“How can they just mix all those different trials in together and get a sensible answer? People are individuals. I don’t know anyone else who eats the sort of diet I do, so how can these scientists possibly say the supplements aren’t going to help me? And of course these so-called scientists have to say that so that the drug companies can make money, don’t they? They don’t want people getting healthy on their own without their pills Personally I’ve never taken so much as an aspirin.”

The Transylvanian-born star certainly seems ultra-healthy, not to mention in splendid form – “call me Vlad” he says, with that famous toothy grin. Our interview takes place at 4 am, but he looks as if he is just getting ready to go out for a night on the town. He does admit to being “an unapologetic 100% night person”.

Given his nocturnal hours and hectic schedule, simply finding the time for a sit-down meal can be a problem.

“Being awake at odd hours, as I am, simply plays havoc with your normal eating habits” he laments. “You can’t always just grab a quick snack on the run, especially if it’s hard to catch. I try to eat regularly and not snack in between, but sometimes I do get the most terrible cravings.”

When he does succumb to the need for a snack, Dracula know what he likes.

“I simply adore traditional black_pudding as a quick bite” he confides “but I can’t eat it too often. I worry about all the nitrate preservatives they put in it, you know”.